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All-Consuming Fire

By Andy Lane

Book review by David Lawrence

Despite not containing the things I like in a New Adventure, I enjoyed Legacy and Theatre of War. All-Consuming Fire conforms to all my little quibbles - the Doctor doesn't take too long to arrive, and so on. So why didn't I like it?

Because, quite simply, it bored me. I loved Lucifer Rising because my attention was seized by the end of Chapter One and not released until the Epilogue. However Andy Lane's first solo novel didn't engage my interest until Chapter 16. Why?

Perhaps it was because of Holmes and Watson. I'm sure Sherlock Holmes fans will have revelled in their inclusion, but I felt as though the Doctor and co. were guest stars in a Sherlock Holmes book rather than the other way around, which I would have preferred.

The Doctor seems unnecessarily arrogant, conceited and continuity-reliant, constantly mentioning things with no relevance to the story. Ace is back to the violent self we thought she'd left behind after No Future and Benny seems to be a sitcom character rather than a real person. Some of her one-liners were nice but after a while it seemed like the only lines she got were wisecracks. Holmes and Watson are well written, but like I said this isn't a Doctor Who novel, it's a Conan-Doyle book.

Since Lucifer Rising was such a memorable book, it seems a pity that All-Consuming Fire isn't. Like Andy Lane's contribution to Decalog, it's a competent piece of literature, but rather average. I really, really hope Original Sin will prove me wrong.

Book review by Jamas Enright

Andy Lane manages to meet the style of a Holmes story superbly, and the way in which it is written would make Conan-Doyle proud. Unfortunately, Benny's entries also seem in the same vein, and if it wasn't for one or two 'Bennyisms', they could have been written by Watson as well.

The plot is a good romp through Victorian London, with political manoeuvrings and the odd secret library thrown in to good effect. You'd nearly think Andy Lane had been there. And then off to a strange planet for a confrontation with God. Andy has managed to blend the two parts together - so that it is a natural continuation of the story.

Holmes and Watson are in fine form, but Holmes seems to tail off on the alien planet. Yes, he is out of his element, but he should have had a bigger part.

Ace and Benny are well done (except Benny's narrative), but the Doctor seems replaceable throughout most of the book, except for the end where he is needed to defeat Azathoth.

The book is another credit to Andy Lane and bodes well for Original Sin.

This item appeared in TSV 41 (October 1994).

Index nodes: All-Consuming Fire